13 supply chain leaders on priorities for the rest of 2022 

With the COVID-19 pandemic straining medical supply chains for more than two years, operation experts are still grappling with daily disruptions.

Becker's asked supply chain leaders to share their priorities for the rest of the year. This compilation features guidance from 13 leaders across the nation who shared insights with Becker's

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Amanda Chawla. Chief Supply Chain Officer at Stanford (Calif.) Healthcare: 2022 priorities are driven by our vision, which is quite simple. "To be the leading-edge supply chain organization" and centers around our mission. To deliver value to healing hands with the right item/service, at the right time, at the right place, transforming the healthcare supply chain of tomorrow.

Top priorities in 2022 that will continue:

  1. To build out Stanford Supply Chain's Resiliency Program and response.
  2. To execute our digital transformation strategy, which includes the preparation for the ERP replacement with a focus on data cleansing and process design.
  3. To execute on automation and build analytics that bring forward efficiencies.
  4. To build the Supply Diversity Program that supports Stanford Supply Chain's Purpose-driven P.R.O.C.E.S.S (Purchasing Reliable products that are Outcomes-based, Customer Coordinated, from Equitable, Diverse and Sustainable Sources).
  5. To execute on our multiyear Non-Labor Spend Management Program.
  6. To accelerate the culture and mechanics of a clinically integrated supply chain.
  7. Lastly, and most importantly — double down on our culture of #oneteamonedream with a focus on our people, empowerment, communication and engagement. 

Bruce Radcliff. System Vice President of Supply Chain at Advocate Aurora Health (Downers Grove, Ill., and Milwaukee): Heading into the second half of the year, as healthcare volumes stabilize, we're focused on implementing post-pandemic processes. One of our biggest supply chain priorities is enhancing clinical capabilities outside hospital walls. That could mean increasing our ambulatory footprint or focusing on the home as a primary venue for care.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest challenges facing health systems today is the national labor shortage. At Advocate Aurora Health, we're making even greater investments in our team members, including raising the minimum hourly wage to $18 and offering career advancement programs. We're also investing in technology, such as an enterprise resource program, that aims to increase engagement and efficiency.

David Dobrzykowski. Director of Supply Chain Master's Program and Associate Professor at University of Arkansas Walton College of Business (Fayetteville): There's entirely different forms of collaboration that are emerging in an attempt to be more resilient and now you're sprinkling in all this cost pressure on top of it, I think it's going to be a really challenging time for supply chain leaders. Unfortunately, I don't think they're going to be kicking their feet up on the desk and thinking they have an easy time in the second half of 2022.

Resilience was a strong focus on visibility and transparency in the supply chain. I wish I had a nickel for every CSCO (chief supply chain officer) in the last year or 18 months who asked me, "How is it that we know when my Domino's Pizza is going to arrive but I don't know where my masks are? How is it that Walmart knows when they're going to receive a shipment within a few hours, but yet, I don't know where my gloves are?" We've been spending a lot of time talking about resilience and transparency.

Don Parks. Director of Procurement and Strategic Sourcing at UCLA Health (Los Angeles): Over the next 6-12 months, we're focusing on vendor relations to enhance supply assuredness and minimize inflationary pressures. To hold costs neutral, we continue to work hard to maintain strong relationships and emphasize our partnership. We're utilizing a new distribution center that allows our team to stock more inventory of priority items and provides greater flexibility to adjust for demand. In addition, we're exploring opportunities to utilize more U.S. and North American manufacturing in order to reduce overseas volatility in price and logistics.

Jake Limbert. Director of Supply Chain Operations at UCSF Health (San Francisco): Our priorities haven't changed in that we're going to continue to support the delivery of the high-quality care our patients seek and expect from us. Every decision we make will have this as its foundation. 

I am most concerned about our people. COVID, and a variety of societal events over the last several years, have taken their toll on our teams both at work and home, and continuing to engage and motivate them is a challenge. However, we have developed mature coverage and self-care plans to ensure our teams stay focused and resourced. 

We will continue to engage our clinical partners with sourcing and implementation strategies to make things more predictable. Stability is crucial right now, and we have shifted our focus to vendors who can be transparent and flexible partners. There's nothing worse than not knowing what's going to hit our docks. We are also keeping a keen eye on our partners overseas as port delays and staffing issues have greatly impacted this aforementioned predictability. We have established more huddles, both internally and externally, to frame each day and week, as a means to enhance transparency among our teams and customers. We're also concerned about cost. We have been vulnerable to the inflationary environment and we don't see this subsiding anytime soon. 

Jesse Stanton. Director of Supply Chain Integration at Parkview Health (Fort Wayne, Ind.): As we look at the second half of 2022, we see three priorities for supply chain management at Parkview Health.

First, we must continually evaluate our stocking strategy by assessing the inventory accrued during the pandemic, managing obsolescence, and determining appropriate move-forward stocking levels to be ready for the next disaster.

Second, through our procurement and contracting efforts, we will collaborate with service lines across our health system in evaluating and supporting opportunities for financial resiliency.

Finally, we must continue to embrace Parkview's culture of flexibility in order to maximize co-worker retention and engagement while maintaining our high-quality and productivity standards.

Jim Francis. Chair of Supply Chain Management at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.):

  1. Continued focus and mitigation of supply disruptions. We expect to see some improvement as we move into the second half of the year, but will require continued diligence.
  2. As reported, overall finances for some healthcare institutions are soft for Q1 and Q2 2022. Renewed focus on creating and adding value to help improve overall operational and financial performance.
  3. New strategies, technology and business partnerships to ensure supply continuity and resilience will continue through the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.
  4. Providing oversight and management to labor challenges (shortages, costs, etc.) within the supply chain operations and assisting the organization with contracted labor.
  5. General inflationary management associated with supplies, pharma, and purchased services will continue.
  6. As with any healthcare organization, there are entity-specific challenges/priorities that also take our attention: implementation of a new ERP; continued migration of a digital supply chain platform; enhanced data and analytics capabilities for decision-making.

Marisa Farabaugh. Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer for AdventHealth (Altamonte Springs, Fla.): For AdventHealth Supply Chain, we are focused on driving down cost of supply expense through pricing and utilization of supplies, while ensuring and increasing resiliency of the overall healthcare supply chain. As part of this work, we remain focused on providing growth and development to ensure a resilient workforce.

Motz Feinberg. Vice President of Supply Chain for Cedars-Sinai Health System (Los Angeles): Our top supply chain priority for the rest of 2022 is to continue ensuring medical supplies are available for patient care. The pandemic taught us that uncertainty needs to be incorporated into our operating models, and predictive analytics can help mitigate those uncertainties. Value creation for the health system is another key priority for us, with a focus on technology enablement and process optimization.

Régine Villain. Chief Supply Chain Officer at Ochsner Health (New Orleans): My goal as a supply chain leader is to ensure that the supply chain is aptly putting the right equipment, the right supplies and the appropriate services for our physicians, clinicians [and] caregivers. That's one of the priorities: establishing a stable base for inventory. 

We're also looking to create a resiliency program to create some redundancies around some of our most critical items. By critical, we've identified them as items we could not go without for a certain amount of time and that are really critical to the past's way of care. Because of that, we have to make sure we can never have a disruption in those items. We're trying to anticipate where the puck is going and working through those and creating redundancies around those particular items. 

Resiliency is the name of the game as well. This morning, we had a conversation with a large, large vendor about what they can do to help support us and what we can do to help them support us. Part of the conversation we had with them was to allow us transparency to understand what's going on within their own supply chain from beginning to end. That lack of visibility can create an issue. It is always maddening when you get the notification from a vendor or a manufacturer at the last minute that, "Hey, by the way, we just realized our plant in XYZ company is compromised and we're going to have to be on allocation or that item isn't going to be able for the next four to six weeks." That puts us in a world of hurt and puts us in a defensive position.

Steve Downey. Chief Supply Chain and Patient Support Services Officer at Cleveland Clinic: 

1) Cost containment — managing spend to drive reductions in operating expenses. This encompasses clinical, nonclinical and pharmaceutical spend, implementing efficiencies and reducing use where appropriate.

2) Resiliency — ensuring clinicians have the products they need for care in a market where shortages are prevalent.

3) Labor — having the right workforce trained and in place to support our organization, while supplementing with automation where optimal.

Tinglong Dai, PhD. Professor of Operations Management and Business Analytics at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore): Geopolitical factors are becoming more and more important in global supply chains. How things are evolving will play a bigger role in driving supply chains overall, which also include healthcare supply chains. Macroeconomic factors [such as] inflation is not just about the raw materials and other medical supplies, it's more and more about the cost to keep enough people to take care of patients. Employers, especially larger hospitals, are having a harder time hiring people and retaining people because of inflationary pressure.

Tom Harvieux. Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at BJC Healthcare (St. Louis): [Our top priorities are] to mitigate inflation and cost pressures while achieving better stock rates for our hospitals; to mature our data for better insights, planning and data-sharing capabilities; to leverage technology to increase efficiency internally and with our trading partners; and to increase communication and engagement with our customers.


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